Peggy Ployhar

When I talk about transition planning for high schoolers, one of the first things I tell parents is that a good assessment can help you hone in on those skills your student needs most to work on, thus saving you both a lot of time and frustration as you plan for a smooth post-high school transition.


Here are the top 3 assessments I recommend for determining a student’s independent life skills:

#1 – Casey Independent Living Skills (CLS) Assessment

The Casey Independent Living Skills Assessment is a free online test anyone can use to gauge independent living skills for students between the ages of 14 to 21. This test covers “the following areas: Maintaining healthy relationships, work and study habits, planning and goal-setting, using community resources, daily living activities, budgeting and paying bills, and computer literacy.”

The site also states that the test “typically will require 30 – 40 minutes to complete the CLSA” and “answers are available instantly for you to review with the youth in a strength-based conversation that actively engages them in the process of developing their goals.”

To learn more and access the CLS assessment, visit the Casey website to access the assessment practice guide as well as a 60-page resource guide that’s filled with specific goals based on testing results as well as helpful resource links to use when working with your student to achieve specific goals visit this page on their website Casey Life Skills Toolkit – Casey Family Programs


#2 – PEATC Life Skills Checklist

The PEATC Life Skills Checklist is a 7-page checklist that can help transition students (14-22), their families, and any homeschool IEP Team track independent living/life skills. To access the checklist, visit PEATC Life Skills Checklist


#3 – Transition Coalition Inventory Independent Living Assessment Tool

The Transition Coalition Inventory Independent Living Assessment Tool is a free downloadable inventory tool to access independent living skills is not only an assessment tool but was also designed to help to create ”a transition plan according to the student’s capability.”

The inventory covers the following areas: “Money management and consumer awareness, food management, personal appearance and hygiene, health, housekeeping, housing, transportation, educational planning, job skills, emergency and safety skills, knowledge of community services, interpersonal skills, legal issues, and parenting and childcare.” To access this inventory and assessment tool, visit this link on the Transition Coalition’s website Microsoft Word – Independent Living Postsecondary Goal Decision Assistance Form1.doc (


In general, the Transition Coalition is an amazing resource for families who have special education learners in high school. Their website includes training, resources, and tools for families to help students with various transition needs to plan for their post-high school goals.


Interested in learning more about homeschooling your special education learner through high school? Check out our High School Checklist for more information on how to homeschool special education high school.






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SPED Homeschool Team

This month we asked our team to share the top three internet resources they used in their special education homeschools. Here is what they send in and little about each site. Hopefully this list will provide you with some new homeschooling resources as well as ideas for planning homeschooling lessons.


Dawn Spence

Teachers Pay Teachers

To find free and affordable lessons you can use to extend concept instruction and remediation on just about any subject and any grade level.

Learning Without Tears Keyboarding

A digital keyboarding program that teaches more than typing. This program also focuses on helping struggling learners with color coding, providing cross-curricular lessons, and responsible digital citizenship.


Access to free audiobooks and ebooks through your local public library.


Jace Clark

Khan Academy

Preschool through advanced placement high school free online curriculum that allows parents to pick and choose courses as well as track their student’s progress through a separate parent portal.


Animated online resources for teaching students general school subjects as well as SEL and ELL resources for students who need them.

Sign Language ASL

Sign language taught by ASL professionals in a fun self-paced online environment.


Amy Vickrey


A nonprofit that is dedicated to helping students with math achievement. They offer online activities to help students master their math facts and detailed parent tracking options for charting student progress.

The Crafty Classroom

Great maze activities to use in place, or in addition to, handwriting activities. This site also has great resources for strengthening your student’s visual tracking skills.

Cathy Duffy Reviews

Great place to begin researching ideas for curriculum for basic knowledge on curriculum options before asking about personal experience with the curriculum in my SPED Strong Tribe or the SPED Homeschool Facebook Support Group. 


Nakisha Blain

Homeschool Creations

Educational printables and encouraging blogs for parents (homeschooling or not) on how to teach their children.

Home Grown Learners

Homeschooling blog with resources on LEGO teaching ideas, Classical Conversations, traditional curriculum products, and more.

Homeschool Share

Unit studies and lapbooks ideas for teaching elementary-aged students.





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Dawn Spence

During this time of COVID-19 closures and the world’s reliance on the web for information as well as learning, it all can be overwhelming to navigate what resources to use or how to use them in your homeschool.


One thing to consider is building time into your homeschooling schedule to try out a new product since so many vendors are offering their services for free or at greatly reduced rates while public schools are closed.


This is especially advantageous to special education homeschooling families as internet learning sites and mobile apps can be powerful tools for students who struggle with pencil and pen assignments.


Here are some of my favorite resources that are giving away free trials right now and the type of learner they support.


#1 – Learning Ally 

This is a great resource for children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, vision issues, or other learning disabilities that make it hard for a child to read. With libraries being closed and long waiting lists for audiobooks to check out from your local library, this is where Learning Ally can help. If you are needing help but can not pay at this time they have a fee waiver form you can fill out. They provide audio and your child can also follow the highlighted text as they listen.


#2 – Audible

Another great, and currently free, audiobook resource for auditory learners is Audible. Using this service, children can listen to a wide range of books, from classics or one of my daughter’s favorites, Hank the Cowdog. This resource is free as long as school buildings are closed, so now is a great time for the family to listen to stories together and use their imagination and build those skills of making movies in their minds while listening.


#3 – Boom Learning-Boom Cards

Boom cards is a website you can use to create digital games and activities. Right now you can sign up for a free account and use the free premade games, create your own, or create more elaborate games with add-on items using their online store. These activities are great for visual learners as well as children who need a hands-on approach to learning. There are also speech activities you can use to fill the gap while your child’s speech therapy is on hold. Additionally, they offer videos that walk you through how to make your own boom cards. You can also share your boom cards, find them free on Teacher Pay Teachers, and download links to your Boom Learning account!


#4 – BrainPopJr  and BrainPop

These sites are online tools that help engage your learner and provide a unique way to teach concepts your learner might be struggling with. Both of these websites are free right now. BrainPopJr is geared to K-3 and teaches the basic concepts of science, health, reading, writing, social studies, and technology. Each concept starts with a video for your visual learner and then allows the student to apply the concept in various ways, like playing a game, drawing, acting, doing a printable hands-on activity, or even sharing jokes. The activities are interactive and can be modified to meet your child’s needs. These tools will especially support your reluctant writers and give them a way to uniquely present their understanding of the concept they have been studying. BrainPop is very similar to BrainPopJr but targets learners K-12 and goes more in-depth teaching and evaluations.


#5 – Boardmaker Online

This website is an online platform that supports education, communication, and social and emotional learning using PCS( Picture Communication System). This is great for children with Autism and other learning disabilities. They are giving 90-day trials right now and you have access to over 40,000 PCS. They are also providing many other resources that can be found here. If your child needs a visual schedule or behavior support you can download them. Their website provides webinars and video libraries you may access for free as well. The free activities provide hands-on themes that can be downloaded for free. If your child has an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device they are also providing free downloads.


I hope you find these resources for struggling learners helpful to try out while they are free. Who knows, you may find a new way to instruct your student that makes homeschooling easier for your struggling learner.





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Peggy Ployhar

Are you looking for some ideas on how to create a unique and educational family night during this pandemic? Here are 4 that rose to the top in my search for some out-of-the-box ways to learn and have fun as a family while staying at home.


#1 – Learn to Cook Together

American’s Test Kitchen – Kitchen Classroom 

This website is offering cooking classes plus more that the entire family can use to learn recipes and more kitchen and cooking skills. You can pick and choose from their already published content or use the new content they publish each week which includes: new recipes, experiments, hands-on activities, quizzes, and even larger projects are published.


#2 – Take a Virtual Field Trip Together

Free Homeschool Deals – 3 Month Virtual Field Trip Calendar 

49 curated virtual field tips your family can take either following the days given on the calendar or as you pick and choose based on your family’s interests.


#3 – Explore New Worlds Together

Minecraft Minecraft Educational Content

Free new worlds including lessons, building challenges, puzzles and more based on history, science, and more subject areas. Your kids won’t even know they are learning and you can join them in creating and exploring this material. Downloads are free through June 30, 2020.


#4 – Create and Play a Board Game Together

Make Use Of9 Free Printable Board Games

Here is an interesting family activity that will get you away from the screen – make your own board game and then play it. Just print out the free downloads and add some simple “extras” from your junk drawer or other games you already have in your house.


Looking for more ideas? Our community is sharing them every day in our Facebook resource sharing group. Feel free to just check the posts from outside the group or join the group so you can post resources you would like to share with others. 


Have fun and make sure to share your adventures in one of our SPED Strong Tribes. We look forward to seeing pictures and hearing about your stay-in family night activities!






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